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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


9. Youth and the World

9.1 General context

Main concepts

Sustainable Development

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out the frame of reference for Austrian development policy. Development policy is a whole-of-government and whole-of-society challenge. Austria’s development-policy positions are set in the three-year programme'Working together. For our world. Three-Year Programme on Austrian Development Policy 2019–2021' (Gemeinsam. Für unsere Welt. Dreijahresprogramm der österreichischen Entwicklungspolitik 2019-2021). As a member state, Austria has committed to implementating and reporting on the SDGs. Based on a 2016 decision by the Federal Council of Ministers, all federal ministries have been charged with the coherent implementation of the 'Agenda 2030'.

The Federal government also provides educational material for school lessons on sustainable development. It promotes the brochure '17 goals for a better world - global learning' (17 Ziele für eine bessere Welt - BAOBAB - GLOBALES LERNEN - Broschüre für die Sekundarstufe II, Jugendarbeit und Erwachsenenbildung zu den Zielen für nachhaltige Entwicklung) as well as the international educational project World's Largest Lesson.

In its public relations and promotion of development-education projects in Austria, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) highlights poverty, hunger, climate change, conflicts or migration as issues that directly affect everyone. The platform, MITMACHEN! ('Participating!') shows how people can contribute something. Non-governmental and governmental initiatives are presented on the website. The range lasts from (school) education, workshops, and contests for young people to possible government funding for projects of NGOs and companies.

In Austria, NGOs play an extremely important role in advocating and campaigning for global issues as well as in motivating and educating young people.

Platform youth politics and international affairs (Plattform Jugendpolitik und Internationales)

The platform has been initiated by the Austrian National Youth Council (Bundesjugendvertretung) in May 2015 to contribute to sustainable networking in the area of international youth politics and youth work. The framework enables to share recent developments and to exchange information on international activities and projects. Furthermore, networking of voluntary and full-time employees, as well as delegates in the sector of international affairs, is provided. Periodically, members of the BJV, network partners, the Department of International Youth Politics of the Department for Families and Youth at the Federal Chancellery are invited to stakeholder meetings.

Environmental protection

Environmental protection is a key concern of young people in Austria. Environmental policies are a central mean in passing on a liveable lifeworld to young people and future generations. Involving young people in both local and global climate action is thus a vital concern of youth and environmental policy.

According to the 2nd Austrian Volunteer Report (Freiwilligenbericht, 2014), 22% of Austrian youth volunteer in the field of environmental, nature and animal protection.

Forum Umweltbildung(Forum Environmental Education) is an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Energie, Mobilität, Innovation und Technologie) and the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung).

Together with the Institute for Environment, Peace and Development (IUFE), it has published the reading book 'Our world. Our Future' on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, a knowledge quiz, an environmental teaching poster, and the card game 'challenge accepted'.

The independent Austrian Youth-Environment-Platform (Jugend Umweltplattform JUMP) offers young adults opportunities for participation, capacity building and personal orientation in the area of environment and sustainability on a long, middle and short term basis as well as training courses and assistance for projects. Young people can also engage in a voluntary 'environmental year'.

Youth interest in global issues

According to the 7th Austrian Youth report (7. Bericht zur Lage der Jugend in Österreich, 2016), 64% of the interviewed young people are interested in environmental, climate protection or other sustainability subjects. About one-third is rather interested. Particular reasons for being interested in these subjects are the future and the next generations (35.7%), as well as personal responsibility and the protection of nature.

A recent (2020) study by the Institute for Youth and Youth Cultural Research (Institut für Jugendkulturforschung) shows that more than eight out of ten children and young people are most concerned about climate change and environmental pollution, and 88% hold that only immediate measures can tackle the issue. It is thus the key concern of young people, regardless of whether they live in the city or on the countryside and which school type or educational background they come from. Young people in Austria also wish for more information on environmental protection.